Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Young Nordic Skiers with Autism Have Fun in Weston

Despite our snowless winter, we've seen some wonderful progress at our winter program on the Weston Ski Track. Its the only place in Massachusetts that makes snow for cross country skiing. This year we've enjoyed watching several participants with Autism Spectrum disorders build confidence and skills while having fun coming each week.

Some parents are able to take a little respite time while their children are with recreation staff on the snowfield by finding a spot nearby and being available by cell phone. Other parents ski with their children, or push them on a kicksled, or vice versa. Kicksleds are useful as an alternate way to be on the snow to get used to a new place and can serve as a break from learning to stand ski. Offering ski poles gives the seated person an opportunity to physically engage and gets them used to the arm exercise.
Brenda Davies, who leads the Universal Access Program on Sundays, says "It's great to get families out together on the kick-sleds and skiing alongside!" It provides the chance for family members to have fun and learn together in the context of a program experience with the built-in opportunity to meet and make friends with similar families. Some kids have found a new friend this winter on the ski track!

The young woman pictured here gets assistance while setting up to ski with a ski walker - an interesting balance tool that can serve as a transitional element for new skiers. Adding a gait belt around her waist can make it easier for helpers to assist with balance and help her test skiing without the walker. She is now able to fit her boots into the skis independently.

Many of the steps of skiing take time to learn, such as clicking your boot into the binding using a ski pole, learning to balance on skis while moving slowly without poles, learning to use poles and increase speed, turn, and fall. Each aspect can be broken into short steps and built upon, offering opportunities for improvement on a week-to-week basis.

Only one program left coming up this Sunday March 4!!! Call Brenda at 413-259-0009 to sign up! The program will run from 12-4pm. Might be a nice chance to check it out for next year and embrace some fun on the snow before this "winter" is over! The adaptive ski program also offers seated cross country skis and snowshoes.

1 comment:

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Wow! That surely looks fun.You certainly did a great job on this. Great post!